The Cordova Times - Fur & Feathers - American Dipper
The Toughest Locals
by Robert Masolini - for the Cordova Times
This is a good time of year to see one of the toughest predators in North America. There are lots of them around Cordova, and they particularly like this place for the same reason we do—salmon. Fishermen are used to competing with seals and sea lions for fish, as well as grumpy, screaming humans flipping us off and being territorial. Everyone is in competition for the fish. Probably the most overlooked predator and competitor of all is also one of the most effective—the American Dipper. These 7-1/2-inch-long, fat little birds are out there fishing right now in the cold, competing for salmon eggs, small fish, and aquatic larvae. They’re locals, all year round, sticking out the winter just like the rest of us who believe they deserve more fish than migrant fishermen. And they’re way less offensive than a roaring sea lion ripping huge holes in your net, or some guy with a beard from Homer with twin jet drives blatantly corking your set. And they’ll never flip you off.
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